Manhattan subway attack on elderly man was anti-Asian crime, eyewitness says

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A Sri Lankan immigrant assaulted on a Manhattan train last week was the victim of an anti-Asian attack, an eyewitness told The Post on Sunday.

Straphanger George Okrepkie, 56, said he was sitting across from 68-year-old victim Narayange Bodhi on Friday afternoon when a fedora-wearing man  approached the older rider and spewed, “You motherf–king Asian!” and punched him.

“All of the sudden, the guy was just on top of the elderly man doing a stabbing motion, just hitting him over the head,” Okrepkie said. “Within seconds, blood was all over the [victim]. 

“The assailant jumped off the guy. I tried to grab [the attacker]. I couldn’t. The doors were already opening, and he skedaddled outside the train. I turned my attention to the victim and made a tourniquet for him to keep the blood from coming out of his head,” said Okrepkie — who used his new Burberry scarf to stanch the bleeding. 

The assailant escaped when the train stopped at Franklin Street station, the witness said.

Okrepkie captured Bodhi’s bloodied face in a photograph that has since gone viral.

“I did take a picture, only because I wanted to make sure that we memorialized what’s really happening,” he said of the attack and others against Asian-Americans. “This isn’t people being tripped or pushed or [receiving] racial slurs — people are being injured dramatically.”

An NYPD rep told The Post on Sunday that the department has no evidence the attack was racially motivated.

But Okrepkie, who said he stayed with the victim for 15 minutes until EMTs and police arrived, told The Post, “I don’t know what the heck you have to do to call it a hate crime.

“I think Asian people today are getting short shrift, and they are such a huge part of our city. It’s a vast group of people. They’re Vietnamese, they’re Chinese, they’re from Korea, Japan. This [attacker] didn’t care where the guy was from. [The victim] just looked Asian.”

New York City is experiencing a surge in attacks against people of Asian descent. Last year, there were 28 such racially motivated attacks compared to just two in 2019.

Bodhi could not be reached for comment by The Post.

Additional reporting by Tina Moore

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